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Here's Where To Do All Of Your Back-To-School Recycling

Recycling backpacks, old gym shoes, glasses and art supplies just got easier.
08/15/2018 04:18pm ET
STUDIOGRANDOUEST via Getty Images

It’s the time of year when back-to-school sales flood the cable channels and bombard our inboxes, but not without reason. After all, little ones grow out of their clothes almost overnight, and active teens wear out their sneakers faster than you can replace them.

But, for every new back-to-school purchase you make, you’re left with an old, unwanted item that could be headed for a landfill. The simple fact is that sometimes it’s easier to replace a worn-out item than it is to repair it, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have a second life somewhere else.

Many retailers and nonprofits collect unwanted textiles, cosmetic empties, electronics and garments in order to repurpose and recycle them. From mascara tubes and ripped jeans, to backpacks and Crayola markers, almost everything you’re replacing for the school year can be reimagined into something new.

Whether you’re a teacher who needs to recycle old art supplies, a parent who has a plethora of worn-out backpacks and gym shoes, or you’re just looking to make some extra closet space, we’ve found 11 places that’ll help you get all of your back-to-school recycling done in a flash.

Here, 11 places to do your back-to-school recycling:

1
ThredUp
ThredUp
What they accept: Women’s and kids’ clothing, handbags, shoes, jewelry, accessoriesHow it works: Donating unwanted clothes and accessories to ThredUp is super easy. Simply order a free Clean Out Kit, fill it with your unwanted items, leave it for the mail carrier (or drop it off at any USPS or FedEx location), and you're done. You can earn cash from higher quality items, or you can choose to donate items to a charity of your choice. Items not selected for resale or donation are responsibly recycled. Learn more about ThredUp's Clean Out Kit.
2
Madewell
Madewell
What they accept: Jeans from any brandHow it works: Stop by one of Madewell's stores to drop off your pre-loved jeans, where it then gets turned into housing insulation for communities in need. You'll get $20 off a new pair. Find a store near you. Learn more about Madewell's Recycling Program.
3
Best Buy

Change is good. #geeksquad #hometheatre

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Best Buy
What they accept: Electronics, appliances, batteriesHow it works: Best Buy recycles all kinds of tech and gadgets, regardless of where you bought it or how old it is. Simply bring in your unwanted electronics to recycle in store. For larger items like TVs and appliances, you can schedule haul-away and pickups for a fee. Learn more about Best Buy's recycling program.
4
Crayola
Crayola
What they accept: Markers, highlighters, dry erase markersHow it works: Crayola's ColorCycle program allows teachers and their students to learn about recycling. Inform your school about the program, set up a collection station in your school for used markers, pack them into a cardboard box with a Crayola-provided shipping label, and that's it. You've given new life to used markers.Learn more about Crayola's ColorCycle program.
5
Nike
Nike
What they accept: Worn-out athletic shoes from any brandHow it works: Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program recycles worn-out sneakers that would otherwise head toward landfills. Bring up to 10 pairs of shoes to any Reuse-A-Shoe collection location (found at most Nike and Converse retail stores), or mail your shoes directly to the recycling facility, though Nike encourages in-person donations to offset the environmental impact of shipping them. Learn more about Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe recycling program.
6
OneSight
OneSight
What they accept: Gently used eyewearHow it works: OneSight is an independent nonprofit that provides vision care around the world. Though OneSight now only provides new eyewear to patients, they do accept eyewear donations to be responsibly recycled. Just drop off your gently used eyewear and sunglasses at your local LensCrafters, Sears Optical or Pearle Vision. Learn more about OneSight's donation program.
7
TerraCycle
TerraCycle
What they accept: Backpacks, briefcases, wheeling backpacks, hiking backpacks, messenger bags, and drawstring bagsHow it works: TerraCycle claims to have a zero waste solution for recycling backpacks and napsacks. Simply choose the size of the waste box you need, fill it with your unwanted items, ship it back, and rest easy knowing they have been given a new life. Unfortunately, TerraCycle is a bit pricey, so we recommend perhaps splitting the cost of a larger box between friends or family members to donate your hard-to-recycle items all at once. Learn more about TerraCycle's recycling program for backpacks.
8
MAC Cosmetics
MAC Cosmetics
What they accept: Empty MAC beauty containersHow it works: Return six empty MAC beauty containers in person or online, and you'll received a free MAC lipstick of your choice as a thank you. Learn more about MAC's recycling program.
9
H&M
HM
What they accept: Textiles from any brandHow it works: H&M has garment collection boxes in all of its stores. Just drop off your unwanted textiles at your nearest H&M, and you'll get a reward voucher. Find your nearest store. Learn more about H&M's recycling program.
11
& Other Stories

Fresh beat-the-heat products. Shop bath and body online and in store.

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And Other Stories
What they accept: Empty & Other Stories beauty containers, textiles from any brandHow it works: Return one or more of their empty beauty containers to your nearest store, and you'll get a 10 percent off voucher. The same goes for recycling textiles. Fill a bag with your unwanted dresses, jeans, socks and even towels and drop it off, then you'll receive a 10 percent off voucher. Find your nearest store. Learn more about the & Other Stories recycling program.

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